Mark Goudeau began a trial for his life yesterday, with a county prosecutor telling jurors that an overriding need to rape drove the defendant to commit a rash of sexual assaults, robberies, and nine murders during a rampage that ended with his September 2006 arrest.
Attorney Suzanne Cohen methodically and clearly took jurors back to the year of terror in which Goudeau allegedly ran rampant on the streets of Phoenix and in other parts of the Valley.
"You shall know him by his deeds," Cohen said, pointing directly at Goudeau, who sat stoically at the defense table in a dark suit.
Cohen claimed that the evidence will show a link to Goudeau in each of the 16 separate crime scenes.
"One gun, one murderer," she said, referring to shell casings and bullets found at several scenes and inside some of the victims that police say came from the same weapon. (The gun never was found.)
Cohen said Goudeau's DNA turned up on five of the victims, key evidence that certainly will be debated during a trial expected to last several months.
Perhaps even more compelling than even the genetic material is what Cohen described as "blood evidence" from two of Goudeau's alleged murder victims that police found on one of his sneakers during a search of his Phoenix home.
Equally as inculpatory was a distinctive ring belonging to murder victim Tina Washington that police found hidden in another one of Goudeau's shoes during another search of his home.
The presence of that ring, a Mother's Day present from Washington's sons, is going to be difficult for defense lawyers to explain away except to suggest that police themselves planted it.
Judge Warren Granville's courtroom, which lacks the seating befitting such a high-profile case, was packed mostly with the family members of the many victims. Audio from the trial also was pumped into another courtroom, which also was filled to capacity.
Also speaking without notes, defense attorney Randall Craig said with passion that the serial murder spree "had nothing to do with Mark Goudeau."
Craig blasted the state's DNA evidence, saying "there are real questions to be asked about how this stuff was interpreted."
Craig concentrated on what the police didn't find rather than what they did.
For example, he said, "There is not a single piece of evidence found at [one of the crime] scene(s) that corroborates the DNA -- which the defense will contest."
Craig suggested that other unspecified parties were the actual killer or killers, and that "overwhelmed and tired" police "made mistakes that compromised the integrity of the investigation. The result was that they apprehended the wrong guy."
Focal point: Mark Goudeau is now serving 438 years in prison (a long time) for the 2005 sexual assaults of two south Phoenix sisters.
The jurors won't know about that conviction unless Mr. Goudeau chooses to take the stand in own defense, which is an unlikely possibility.